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Beat the heat with cool products

By April Lollar, APR, CCC

When temperatures soar in the summer, utility bills can do the same. There are several small ways to manage your energy use this summer, and Clay Electric Co-operative is always happy to help you with those simple, no- or low-cost ways to save – but for those who are considering remodeling or making larger purchases, here are a few ideas that may help keep your energy use in check and keep your wallet cool. 

Remodeling?

If you are making esthetic changes to your home, consider products that will also make it work more efficiently. The biggest energy users in our homes are heating and cooling systems, so if you are making upgrades to your floors and cabinets, consider making some energy efficient upgrades to your HVAC system, too. 

If you’re making additions to your home or converting attics or basements into living spaces, a ductless heating and cooling system is a great option. A ductless system does not require adding pipes or ductwork to a home’s existing system, making it a more affordable upgrade for many. Ductless systems tend to be more efficient, meaning homeowners will use less energy and save on their electric bills. Contact your local HVAC contractor for more information.

If making changes to your heating and cooling system doesn’t seem like the right upgrade for now, consider installing a smart thermostat. These “cool” devices learn your behavior and adjust heating and air conditioning settings with a goal to save energy. Smart thermostats also have the capability to connect to the Internet, allowing homeowners to manage energy use via a smart phone app. There are several smart thermostat options available on the market, and they typically cost between $200 and $400. 

Purchasing new appliances?

If you are considering purchasing new appliances that will use less energy, but may not have the budget for a complete appliance overhaul, your clothes dryer is a great place to start as dryers are big consumers of electricity. For example, dryers typically use around 900 kWh each year as compared to a refrigerator, which uses around 455 kWh each year. 

There have been big developments with dryers in recent years, and Energy Star awarded two standouts – the LG EcoHybrid Heat Pump Dryer and the Whirlpool HybridCareTM Heat Pump Dryer – the 2014 Emerging Technology Award. 

Using heat pump technology, these dryers offer 40 percent in energy savings if operated on their most efficient settings and can save more than $400 over the life of the dryer. If you are interested in purchasing other appliances or products, remember to visit energystar.gov and check out their “Most Efficient 2015” list to help you determine which products – from windows and HVAC systems to televisions and washers – are the most efficient for your home.  

And don’t forget that Clay Electric Co-operative is your partner in energy savings. If you do upgrade your HVAC system to an energy efficient ground source or air source heat pump ask about our rebates and our special electric rates. 

April Lollar writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.